The Pros And Cons Of Celebrity Children’s Literature

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Debbie Woodliffe is an experienced writer currently based in the UK working for Affinity Agency. Debbie’s goal is to help others learn and develop through well-researched and informative content.

Children’s Literature seems to have become a bit of a popularity contest with celebrities like David Walliams, Channing Tatum, and even the Duchess of Sussex contributing to the genre. But is this a good thing? Books and reading are a cornerstone of child development and learning, and there’s no guarantee that these celebs understand the intricacies required.

In this article, we’ll look at the good and the not-so-good sides of celebrity children’s books and offer some alternative reading options for the concerned parents and guardians out there.

The Benefits of Celebrity Authors

Here are a few benefits of books written by celebrities. 

Increased likelihood of reading

Books and reading are a fundamental part of a child’s education, but getting children to read and enjoy stories is one of the main issues parents and teachers have. There are plenty of tips to read more that we can try, but sometimes there’s little we can do to make a child read.

There are numerous benefits to reading for children outside of regular education—research shows that those who read for pleasure outside of school tend to gain higher test results in maths, spelling, and vocabulary tests. It also suggests that they are more likely to have managerial or professional jobs later in life if they enjoy reading from a young age. 

Three young children laying on their stomachs on a rug looking at the same book

So, we should be encouraging children to want to read, but how do we do that? We can set a good example, have books at home and read ourselves, but the draw of the celebrity is powerful. Celebrity authors can help convince a child to read as their popularity and brand mean they appeal to a large target audience. If a child likes a celebrity, they may be more inclined to pick up their book, thereby helping set the child up for success later in life. Essentially, these celebrity books are an entry point to reading for pleasure.

Related: 5 Decodable Readers We Love For Kids


Diversity in children’s books is a key topic on the minds of most publishers, but discrimination is still rife throughout the world. Making the most of the celebrity brand on these diverse stories is one way to boost sales while getting the message out there. 

Public figures like Barack Obama, Singers like Pharrell Williams, Activists like The Duchess of Sussex, and Comedians like David Baddiel all released children’s books that touch on diverse topics such as race, disability, religion, and more. Would these stories be published and read as much as they are without a celebrity name attached?

The Downsides of Celebrity Authors

The main issues with children’s books written by celebrity authors are the uncertainty around the quality and the attention. 


While many celebrities may go into the writing side of things to share their message, increase diversity, and raise awareness, some only want to make a quick buck. 

They’re not all poorly written, but how do you go about assessing their suitability and if they’re teaching children anything? You can’t trust bestseller lists as they’re based on sales, and there are few other public metrics to check. The best thing you can do is assess the reviews, ask librarians, and ask other teachers and booksellers too. They’ll know best about the quality of a book and will be able to make recommendations for you if the celeb story isn’t one you think is right. 


The fact that some of these celebrity authors aren’t even authors is a huge red flag. They don’t write the book themselves but instead employ ghostwriters or put their name to someone else’s writing. This happens more and more as a marketing ploy, and the phrasing turns from ‘celebrity endorsements’ to ‘celebrity authors’. The content of the books may be decent, but why aren’t the original authors being championed? 

Chris Hoy is famous for acknowledging his ghostwriter and promoting their talent, but why wasn’t their name on the cover? It feels disingenuous and diverts attention from those who craft well-written and carefully considered children’s books, often meaning their chance at being published falls. 

Alternative Options For Choosing Books

Young boy smiling with a book open on his head

If you want to avoid the celebrity author trap, you’re going to have to do some research to find the quality books you want. 

Start by working out what you want to achieve. Do you want to show the child more diversity? Improve their reading ability? Encourage them to like reading? Once you know this, you can focus your attention on the books that matter.

Next, hit the library (school or public) as they tend to arrange children’s books in themes or bands. For example, they often buy and display reading collections that are sorted by age, reading skill and even themes like diversity, poetry, children’s choice, developing readers or picture books.

The third step is to check the curriculum for any suggested reading or books they will be learning later on.

Following this, let them choose. Giving them a choice means they will be more inclined to read it.

Back all this up with guided or supported reading sessions, and encourage them to continue reading once they’ve finished. You never know; you might have just made a booklover out of them. At the very least, you’ll have gotten them to read a book you are sure benefits their development and education.

To help, there are plenty of book lists and recommendations here for you to explore.

Remember, not all children’s books written by celebrities are bad – many are noted by librarians and educators as being beneficial to a child’s learning. However, since the quality varies so much, you should never use the celeb factor as the only reason to buy. If a child begs to read it because it’s from a famous person, let them – it can be an entry point to further reading. Just don’t let it become the be-all and end-all of their literature journey.

You might also be interested in: 19 Books Every Kindergartener Needs To Read

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